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“The point is not knowing another person, or learning to love another person. The point is simply this: How tender can we bear to be? What good manners can we show as we welcome ourselves and others into our hearts?” Divine Secrets of the Ya -Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

“We awaken this bodhichitta, this tenderness for life, when we can no longer shield ourselves from the vulnerability of our condition, from the basic fragility of existence. In the words of the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, “You take it all in. You let the pain of the world touch your heart and you turn it into compassion.” It is said that in difficult times, it is only bodhichitta that heals.” ~ Pema Chödrön

As the novel coronavirus has burned its way across America, it has highlighted the searing inequality that has lurked just below the surface of the economic boom of the past generation. It has revealed that self-serving politicians are indifferent to the lives of their constituents, that racial disparities in healthcare and poverty have created a deadly caste system, and that political partisanship has become so toxic that some people would literally rather die than listen to leadership from a member of another party. — Heather Cox Richardson

Battle lines are being drawn between left and right, between spiritual and materialistic, between sensitive and callous and rich and poor. We have been here before. It’s an eternal conflict. This time it’s global, though. We’re all involved.

We have come up to this challenge before. We refused to take the lesson though, because it required awareness and spiritual growth. We have always refused to get out of our mental grooves. Here we are again with the same challenge, a challenge that will keep circling back with increasing force until we take the hint.

We are very attached to our habits of wars and fear of wars. We can’t imagine life without our enmities and prejudices, our tribal identities and allegiances. We have yet to realize how we each create the world, a world that has become more and more difficult to live in. Soon it will pass from difficult to impossible if we can’t broaden our vision, if we can’t learn compassion and simple kindness.

We are trapped in our smallness of vision and heart, but the natural world has too much intelligence to allow us to destroy everything with our blinkered profit motives. This will not be our last comeuppance if we fail to see the mote in our own eye. These events will become more frequent and more shocking.

We have to grow up now and learn to love each other. It’s a tall order. We like our myopic , self centered ways. Somehow we will have to notice the connection between those ways and the suffering we keep experiencing.

Once we make that connection of cause and effect, we might start to ask some questions about ourselves. Simple questions, nothing too abstruse or hard to grasp. What are we thinking and doing to bring so much pain to so many?

What kind of people are we? Is this the best world for every living thing? Where have we gone wrong? Can we do better?

Simple questions. Basic stuff, really. But on a global scale, such an exercise looks unlikely, daunting, or it has until now at least.

The question arises, how much suffering will it take to get human beings to reach the tipping point?

Only the Fates know the answer to that. Let’s hope they don’t push us off the cliff

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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